The Indian cricket team, led by Rohit Sharma, will face Sri Lanka in the crucial third and final ODI match of the series at the Greenfield International Stadium in Kerala on January 15. The Men in Blue have already secured an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series and will aim for a clean sweep in the final match of the tour.
Captured by Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lanka will play for honor and put up a strong fight in Kerala before returning home. Despite a disappointing series for the Asia Cup 2022 winners, ending on a positive note would boost their morale.
Both teams will also keep an eye on the 2023 ODI World Cup on the horizon. Experimenting with the teams may be a possibility, but India may choose to go unchanged, as they have shown good form and may want to see improved performances from certain players in the XI.
Let’s talk about the predicted playing XI for the Indian squad to play the final ODI against Sri Lanka in the ongoing series –
Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma open the innings
Despite Ishan Kishan’s recent 210-run performance against Bangladesh, the management has chosen to support Shubman Gill in the upcoming match. Gill has earned this faith with his impressive 728 runs in his last 14 ODI appearances, which include five half-centuries and one century. Although he only scored 21 runs in the previous ODI in Kolkata, he will aim to make a significant contribution in the upcoming match.
Captain Rohit Sharma returned to the field this year in Guwahati and led the team with his 83 off 67 runs, giving India a strong start. However, he only managed 17 runs in the second ODI. Known for giving his team a strong start in matches, he will aim to do the same when the two teams face off in Kerala.
Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul solidify the middle order
Virat Kohli has been in outstanding form for the Men in Blue, ending 2022 with a century and starting 2023 with another. He will be looking to replicate his first ODI performance as he has the ability to single-handedly win matches for the team.
Shreyas Iyer, who was the leading run-scorer for the team in ODIs in 2022, has played in both ODIs but has failed to make the most of his starts. He scored 28 runs in each match before getting dismissed. He will need to step up his game if he wants to secure a spot in the playing XI going forward.
KL Rahul scored a slow half-century (64* off 103) in the previous match, but it was crucial for the team in their chase. He understands the dynamics of the game well but will need to play more confidently and score runs that can give his team an advantage in the match.
Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel form the all-rounder duo
The two all-rounders have been vital to the team, both with their batting and bowling. They can also impact the game with their ability to save crucial runs as fielders. Both star all-rounders will aim to produce another strong performance in the final ODI.
Axar and Hardik returned with bowling figures of 1/16 and 0/26 respectively, with an economy rate of 3.20 and 5.20 in the previous match. Though they have been inconsistent with the bat, they will look to improve in this aspect in the upcoming game.
Umran Malik, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj form the bowling quartet
The pace attack of Shami, Siraj, and Umran has been deadly for the team thus far, making it hard for opposing batters. Umran’s raw pace combined with Shami’s experience and Siraj’s excellent lines and lengths have been effective in the matches.
However, the bowling unit has at times lacked consistency and given up runs. This is something the trio will look to improve. Regarding Kuldeep Yadav, he took three wickets in the previous match, conceding runs at a rate of 5.10. He will aim to build on that performance and solidify his spot in the team.